After exhausting myself online with searching for numerous topics on parents, education and seminary, and coming up dry; I was blessed to find this article. It gives me great hope for the adventure ahead that I am not alone in this journey.
They have both lived with the label “single mom.” Stephanie Lattner, Olathe, is mother to 1-year-old Ian. Lisa Stevens, Lenexa, is a single woman who is the primary caretaker for two of her grandchildren. Both recently gained an additional title: college graduate. And both are going back to school for more education. Lattner, the first in her family to graduate from college, said receiving a bachelor’s degree in business was “a huge accomplishment.” “It’s hard to keep a job going and go to school,” Lattner said. “You have to be optimistic and positive and keep motivating yourself. Look at your children or your child. You want them to grow up comfortable.” Being a single mom and a student required balance, Lattner said. Recently laid off from a job at a grocery store, Lattner and her fiancé have struggled to make ends meet, she said. “I hope to get my foot in somewhere,” Lattner said. “That’s what I’m looking for some way. I’m looking to get my foot in the door somewhere and rise to the top. It’s kind of difficult right now with the economy.” The first step every month is to pay the bills, she said. “We don’t go out,” Lattner said. “We don’t do anything. We put our money away just in case we don’t have something for the next month. We just try to not spend any money. I make (school) a priority.” Often, people do not think of skilled prioritizing when they think of single mothers, Stevens said. “There are a lot of judgments,” Stevens said. “Our decisions are based on the needs of our family. There isn’t any luxury. We know how to budget. We can budget on a shoe-string. If any of us were to become president we could do a very good job. Our decisions would be well thought out because we’ve experienced the hardships we have. We can endure anything.” Stevens, who received a bachelor’s degree from Ottawa University in Overland Park, has always loved to learn and dreams of being a doctor of some sort, she said. She hopes to earn a PhD in psychology. She will soon start work on her master’s through an online university, she said. “I am interested in psychology and I want to help people come to terms with it and take care of it,” Stevens said. “If you help single parents, they won’t be on assistance for long. When you have education, you have respect.” So Stevens will do what it takes, she said. Most days, that means about four hours of sleep or less. She takes the children to child care, goes to school herself and works her job of helping out another family. She spends her Saturdays studying. Last year when gas prices skyrocketed, she “cried and cried,” and then figured out a way to take classes online, she said. After her recent graduation, she found a moment of long-awaited rest, she said, and took her first vacation in nine years to go visit family. “I look at the long-range goal of where I am going to be and how much I am going to be making,” Stevens said. “If I didn’t do it, I wouldn’t be able to survive when I am older and take care of myself. It is making the investment in myself and my family now.” Lattner’s dream is for her family to live comfortably, she said. “I want to be in a job that I know I’m going to be at for a while,” Lattner said. “I know I’m going to get paid. My son is going to have everything he needs.” While job searching, Lattner will work on a master’s degree in business administration. “You have to keep positive,” Lattner said. “You can do it. It’s hard. I keep looking at my son and say I can do this. I can keep a job going. I can go to school. I can keep my family going… I think I can do it.”